The ultra precision machining laboratory houses a range of Cranfield-developed ultra precision diamond turning machines and those from leading suppliers.

The laboratory is the UK’s national facility for large X-ray optics manufacture, and is highly temperature controlled with a capacity to process optics of up to 1.5 metres in diameter. It is equipped with surface roughness and form measurement instruments.

Cranfield University is an established supplier of optics and systems to ESO, ESA, NASA, the National Physical Laboratory and industrial programmes. Delivered products are measured using fully traceable metrology systems.

Summary of applications

Our ultra precision machining laboratory houses a range of state-of-the-art equipment able to machine ultra precision components of around two metres in diameter with details in the sub-micrometre range.

Large diamond turning machine

The large diamond turning machine is capable of diamond turning work pieces up to 1.4 metres in diameter by 0.6 metres high, with high quality surface finishes. Typical components include spherical, parabolic and hyperbolic mirror substrates.

Talysurf CCI

The TalySurf CCI is an advanced 3-dimensional, non-contact optical metrology tool used for advanced surface characterisation. This instrument has the ability to offer a true topographical representation of a surface with 0.01nm Z resolution over a full scan range, plus a 0.4µm lateral resolution, with over 1,000,000 data points.

Taylor Hobson’s patented coherence correlation interferometry (CCI) technology provides ultra high resolution interferometric measurements for non-contact surface roughness, step-heights, form, shape, angular and critical dimension results.

Coherence correlation interferometry (CCI) is a multi-functional and flexible 3D metrology technology that can be adapted to measure and characterise a wide range of surface types. Polished, ground, etched, transparent, rough, shiny and multi-dimensional surface types can all be measured and characterised. Accurate surface characterisation can provide critical information that can be related to aspects of a manufacturing process. Understanding and monitoring these processes allows research and production to maintain component quality, yields and operational performances.

Using the facility

We have produced numerous optics and devices for:

  • ESA,
  • RAL,
  • NASA,
  • UK ATC,
  • Pilkington,
  • AWE,
  • Qioptic,
  • Thales,
  • ESO,
  • Zeiss,
  • G&H,
  • Optic,
  • Astrium,
  • Boostec,
  • SSTL.